How much should you feed your dog? What type of foods should be given? These are questions that pet owners often fail to ask themselves. Dogs, like all other animals including humans, have specific recommended daily allowance for nutrients they need to meet in order to survive and live healthy. When given too much of a nutrient and less of another, your dog may suffer from inadequate nutrition that could emerge as physical maladies.
Your dog's daily nutritional needs are determined by several factors including breed, size, its life stage, among others. For a dog to be in optimum health, it needs special nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Meat is still the best source of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that dogs cannot live without. Dogs need 10 essential amino acids in order to build strong muscles, but these must be sourced from their diet since dogs cannot make amino acids on their own. An excellent protein source should be able to provide the essential amino acids dogs need.
What if you introduce a vegetarian diet to your pooch? Amino acids can also be derived from plant-based protein such as those found in beans and legumes you're your dog's diet should simultaneously be supplemented with Vitamin D.
Fatty Acids and Fats
Dogs also require essential fatty acids in their diet, which they could derive from animal fats and vegetable oils. These fatty acids play a role in the metabolism of energy and are important for the synthesis of fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, K, and E). Besides that, fats also enhance the taste of dog foods. When ingested at right amounts, essential fatty acids help keep your dog's coat and skin healthy.
Puppies that are deficient in EFAs have been found to develop poor vision problems and tend to have unhealthy skin and hair, as well as lesions that increase your dog's vulnerability to infections.
Adult dogs weighing 33lb need about 25g of crude protein, 56g for puppies weighing 12lb, and 69g for pregnant dogs. Dogs that weigh 33lb and nursing six puppies need 158g of protein. Fat requirements are 21g, 14g, and 29g, respectively, while nursing dogs need 67g of essential fatty acids.
In addition, dogs need energy to carry out normal activities and biological functions. Energy is required for growth, exercise, pregnancy, and lactation. Energy requirements can increase depending on needs and the activities your dog engages in. Energy comes from the basic components present in your dog's diet: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. This stresses the importance of giving your dog a balanced meal everyday.
Dogs are omnivorous animals, like humans, which mean they are capable of digesting plant-based carbohydrates including starches, sugars, and dietary fibre (both soluble and insoluble). Commercial dog foods contain carbohydrates that come from legumes, cereals, and other plant sources. If your dog is overweight or obese, many veterinarians would advice feeding your dog higher amounts of insoluble fibre, such as wheat bran and cellulose, as this makes them feel fuller to reduce their caloric intake. Food energy is often measured in calories. The caloric intake of dogs also depends on their specific needs and daily activities.